By: Dr. Roger Landry, MD, MPH
The Corona pandemic of 2020 will go down in history as a massive shared experience that altered how we live, work, and socialize. Even those of us spared tragic consequences were nonetheless significantly affected as our everyday lives were upended. For me, this was a time to inspect my priorities; to take a holistic look at how I spend my time, to carefully review what I value, and to do this through the lens of the health and quality of the rest of my life.
For part of my lock down-time, I confess, I was sedentary, ate poorly, and felt sorry for myself. That did not go well. And so, I began to creatively find ways to move more, pay attention to what I consumed, learn something new every day and to virtually reach out to friends, even to people who had dropped out of my life. That turned things around for me considerably. I had more energy and I was much more positive. But not until I began to think of others did I flourish. Not until I felt a solidarity with others, in my town, state, and country; with Italians, Chinese, Germans, and yes, my fellow Man … not until then did I feel compassion and with that, a sense of peace.
And so, I learned, relearned really, that the quality of the rest of my life … how healthy I will be and how fulfilled I will feel … does indeed depend on the choices I will make every day. Choices like how much I move and how much I continue to learn new things. And most of all, it depends on how much I am connected to others and have purpose and meaning that enhances that connection.
In fact, I learned what John Donne told us in For Whom the Bell Tolls …
No man is an island entire unto itself…
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For, I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
… and that has, for me, made all the difference.